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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Jere Van Dyk: My Two-Minute Advice to General Petraeus

June 29, 2010, 11:09 PM
Journalist Jere Van Dyk stopped by the Big Think offices today to recount his gripping tale of survival after being captured and imprisoned by the Taliban in 2008. Van Dyk, an expert on Afghan history and culture, also offered some cautionary advice to General Petraeus as he assumes leadership of the Afghanistan War. Most importantly, he said, the U.S. must more clearly define its goals in Afghanistan. He also discussed the most important things people should know about the region, explained the differences between the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and argued that Osama bin Laden could not still be hiding in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Van Dyk believes that America's counterinsurgency policy could potentially work as a long-term strategy, but he said that the Obama administration's handling of the war is doing little to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. 

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Jere Van Dyk: My Two-Minute...

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